Tech trends and highlights from IFA 2018
We came. We saw. We ate Currywurst. We VR’d. We got lost trying to find Hall 26. But we conquered. IFA 2018 wasn’t big on secret or revolutionary product reveals. Much of what we saw from the big brands was already unveiled at CES earlier this year. So instead of futuristic prototypes and hype, the event felt like a more serious representation of intelligent technology with genuine real-world benefits. Here are some of the trends and highlights from IFA 2018.
Until recently, smart home appliances could be controlled remotely – useful? Maybe. Thanks to AI technology like LG’s ThinQ, smart appliances can now learn and communicate with each other too. LG’s smart fridge can recommend recipes based on what’s inside, turn the smart oven on to the right settings, and read out instructions to you while you cook.
Haier’s washer, toilet seat cover and body fat scale can be connected to monitor your health. Its smart kitchen connects fridge, oven and ventilator to automatically identify food and communicate to help you cook, and to preserve air quality in the home.
Yuneec is using AI to train drones to recognise violent behaviour in crowds.
In the absence of 8K content, AI has allowed Samsung to finally bring a range of 8K televisions to market. Samsung’s Q900R 8K QLED TV range with 8K AI upscaling will go on sale in the UK in October. The TV’s will range from 65 to 85 inches and have the ability to upscale 4K, UHD and even SD video from any device or steaming service.
Bone and body conduction technology
Bone conduction technology has existed for some time, helping hearing aid wearers, the military and sports enthusiasts that want to be able to listen to music and have exposure to ambient sound – like cars on the road for runner and cyclist safety. Now kickstarter brands are adopting bone and body conduction to make products that allow users to take calls or instruct their smartphone assistant on the go without having to use their handset, or wear a headset of sorts.
Origami Labs showed off their ORII voice-powered ring that lets you hear and talk to your smartphone assistant by pressing your earlobe. Similarly, SGNL are soon bringing to market a smart strap that connects to your existing watch face, or can be worn on its own, to allow users to make and take calls by placing their fingertip on their ear.
Tech for the ladies
We were impressed to see a vast array of thoughtful tech and beautiful wearables, aimed at women. Fossil is teaming up with designers like Michael Kors to make truly stunning designer smart watches for both women and men. Fitbits are becoming prettier. Earbuds and headphones elegantly detailed with rose gold were aplenty.
Kitchenware brands were displaying collectible ranges of cool pastel-coloured appliances that are too divine to resist having everything in the range – from the toaster, kettle and mixer down to the saucepans and bread bin.
One of our favourite finds was the Leaf smart-pendant by BellaBeat that can be worn either as a bracelet charm, clip or necklace. It tracks activity, sleep, mindfulness and menstrual cycles, and has been hailed as the wearable that women really want to wear. The new version, Chakra, is made with healing crystals, and accessories include a smart water bottle, aroma diffuser, Mala beads and even pretty bluetooth headphones.